America breaks its virus record again
The United States has recorded more than 55,000 new coronavirus cases in a new record.
According to data collected by the Washington Post, the US recorded 55,200 new cases on Thursday - surpassing the previous record on Wednesday of 52,789.
The US has now had almost 2.8 million cases in total, almost double Brazil on 1.5 million.
Almost 130,000 people have died from the virus in the US.
The worst hit state on Thursday was Florida, which had 10,109 new cases, a big jump from the 6563 it recorded the day before.
It is the 25th day that Florida has set a record high.
In Texas, the state recorded 7915 new cases. The rise in cases has prompted Texas Governor Greg Abbott to issue an executive order requiring people to wear a face mask in public.
The order, issued ahead of the July 4 holiday weekend, applies to counties with 20 or more confirmed COVID-19 cases, Mr Abbott's office said in statement.
The governor also banned gatherings of more than 10 people, and mandated social distancing of 2m.
"We have the ability to keep businesses open and move our economy forward so that Texans can continue to earn a paycheck, but it requires each of us to do our part to protect one another -- and that means wearing a face covering in public spaces," Mr Abbott said, citing the effectiveness of masks in slowing the spread of the coronavirus.
"Restricting the size of group gatherings will strengthen Texas' ability to corral this virus and keep Texans safe," he said.
Mr Abbott's orders came after the situation in Houston, America's fourth-largest city, sharply declined in the past two weeks.
Texas on Wednesday reported a record 8076 coronavirus cases in 24 hours, 1000 more than the record high a day earlier.
Overall, Texas has recorded more than 175,000 coronavirus cases. Mr Abbott's orders came as many Republican officials, who were initially lukewarm about the importance of wearing masks, begin publicly calling for face coverings as the United States sees soaring numbers of new infections.
TRUMP PUSHES ON WITH JULY 4 CELEBRATIONS
Under fire for his response to America's spiralling coronavirus caseload, President Donald Trump is heading to Mount Rushmore today for a night of holiday fireworks that he hopes will provide a much-needed distraction.
On the eve of Independence Day, the Republican leader is to speak in the shadow of four notable predecessors: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, whose heads are carved into a granite cliff in South Dakota's Black Hills.
Mr Trump was expected to use that monumental backdrop to assail those who would "tear down our history," CNN reported.
Mr Trump has had little to say about the shocking increase in the number of US virus cases, though he tweeted the rise was because "our testing is so massive and so good," calling that "great news."
He added: "Even better news is that death, and the death rate, is DOWN."
US testing has risen sharply, but health experts say it still lags on a per capita basis behind many other countries and does not fully explain the case rise.
They also note that deaths tend to increase a few weeks after cases rise.
The pandemic has claimed nearly 130,000 American lives, and a recent resurgence of cases in the country's south and west "puts the entire country at risk," top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci has said.
Some US states are currently beating their own grim virus records nearly every day. The number of daily new cases nationwide recently topped 50,000 for the first time this week.
Many states have paused efforts to reopen their economies, even reimposing restrictions on bars, restaurants and beaches.
Former president Barack Obama weighed in Friday, tweeting: "This holiday weekend, let's be safe and smart. It's going to take all of us to beat this virus. So wear a mask. Wash your hands. And listen to the experts, not the folks trying to divide us."
- With AFP
Originally published as America breaks its virus record again